Free school meals

Free food supplement vouchers for May Half Term

As part of the Government's Household Support Fund we will be providing a £15 food supplement voucher for:

  • children who are in receipt of income-based free school meals
  • families who receive income-assessed Early Years Support (2 to 4 year olds)
  • young people leaving their care setting (care leavers)

We will be issuing vouchers from week beginning 20 May. 

You do not need to apply for the scheme. You will receive a letter automatically with details of how to access the food voucher.

How to redeem your voucher

Go to the Edenred website and follow the instructions below:

  • enter your eCode from the letter
  • choose your supermarket
  • enter the amount
  • go to checkout and complete your order
  • the voucher will arrive by email within 24 hours
  • check your inbox for your voucher email and download your voucher
  • if you cannot find the voucher email, please check your junk/spam folder

Codes need to be activated within 3 months of the issue date (20 May) or they will be cancelled automatically. Once vouchers have been claimed on the Edenred website they will be valid for 12 months.

If you have difficulty accessing the Edenred website, please contact your child's school for help in the first instance. You can also contact the Edenred helpline on 0333 444 5932 or if you live in Sheffield, contact the Free School Meals team.

If you have a child attending a Sheffield school or maintained nursery, you may be entitled to free school meals if you receive any of these benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods) 
  • Income Support
  • income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income related Employment Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

If you are over 18 and still attend school your free school meals will continue. If you are unsure about your eligibility please contact us.

Pupils protected from losing free school meals

The following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals: 

  • from 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time
  • in addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period
  • once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (ie primary or secondary)

Infant free school meals

If your child attends a state funded infant school and is in Key Stage 1 (reception, year 1 or year 2), they are entitled to ‘universal infant free school meals’ regardless of your income. You can contact your child’s school and tell them you would like to have ‘universal infant free school meals’.

Extra funding to support your child's education

If you apply for free school meals and you are successful:

  • your child’s school gets up to £1345 additional funding (Pupil Premium)
  • your child’s early years education provider gets up to £302 additional funding (Early Years Pupil Premium)

This funding is to support your child's education and can help to buy new equipment and resources.

Contact us if your circumstances change. For example, if you no longer receive benefits, move house or change school, as this may affect your right to claim.

Automatic Award for Free School Meals: August and September 2023

The council has looked at the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support information we hold and found that a significant number of households may meet the criteria for free school meals but have not yet made an application.

We want to increase the Pupil Premium funding for all academies and locally maintained schools in Sheffield, so we will be using Housing Benefit data that we already have to automatically award free school meals during the months of August and September.

Those families who appear to qualify for free school meals but haven’t applied yet are being contacted by letter to explain how the automatic award works.

There is an information sheet that gives more background to the scheme to help you if you receive a letter.

Please note that if your child/ren attends one of the Oasis Academy schools, Don Valley, Fir Vale or Watermead, you will need to contact the school directly to apply for free school meals, as they manage their own free school meals application process.

Apply for free school meals

You can apply by:

  • completing an online application
  • asking the school to apply on your behalf
  • contacting us

The online application can be used by parents, carers, schools or professionals. You can apply online for up to 5 children.

Schools applying on behalf of parents or carers for 6 or more children should use their Anycomms batch collection upload template.

Next steps after you've applied

If your claim is successful, the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals. Schools will ensure that this information is treated with the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.

Contact Free School Meals

0114 273 4567
Option 4, then option 3

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